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Omega-3s - and the non-fish eater

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Omega-3 oils are a type of polyunsaturated fat that, like other polyunsaturated fats, help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 oils help to protect the heart as they reduce inflammation and the risk of clots. Omega-3 oils can come from marine, animal and plant sources. 

Marine sourced omega-3
Marine-based omega-3 are found mainly in oily fish. Other fish, such as barramundi and flathead, and seafood, such as scallops and mussels, are also good sources of marine-based omega-3.

Plant sourced omega-3
The Heart Foundation recommends that we should have at least 2 grams of plant-sourced omega-3 every day. This can be accomplished by eating two slices of soy and linseed bread spread with a canola-based margarine, 30 grams of walnuts or a variety of the foods that contain plant-based omega-3s including canola oil, soybean oil and linseeds (flaxseeds).

Animal sourced omega-3
Animal sourced omega-3 are found in animal products such as eggs, chicken and beef.

For those who do not eat fish, it’s OK, as fish are not the only source of omega-3s. There are a variety of omega-3 enriched foods that can help you reach your target of 2-3 serves of fish a week:

• Choose foods and drinks with added omega-3s. Check the packaging and labels for the words ‘with added omega-3s’ or check the nutrition information panel for DHA and EPA (marine source of omega-3s)
• There are many omega-3 enriched foods and drinks available, including milk, yoghurt, eggs, pizza, bread and soy drinks
• Fish oil capsules or liquids that contain at least 500mg of EPA and DHA in a daily dose are also a good source of omega-3
• Try to eat more plant-based omega-3. These can be found in canola oil and margarines, nuts and seeds (especially walnuts), flaxseeds (linseeds), hemp oil, soybeans and dark green vegetables.

So it seems that getting 2-3 serves of fish in our weekly eating plan is not that hard to do, even if you don't eat fish!